H. pylori



What is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection?

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the most common cause of stomach ulcers, is a type of bacteria responsible for widespread infection with more than 50% of the world's population infected, even though most of those infected have no symptoms. H. pylori infection is associated with low grade inflammation of the stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine that empties the stomach). These particular bacteria have evolved to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach where enzymes digest food. H. pylori is the causative agent of chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer diseases and is an important risk factor for the development of gastric cancer and mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma.

What are the symptoms of H. Pylori:

For those people with symptoms, an inflamed stomach and ulcers are the results of an H. pylori infection. These are characterized by:

• Upper abdominal pain

• Loss of appetite/desire to eat

• Nausea and vomiting

• If severe enough, bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract

Abdominal pain is usually described as a burning sensation in the central upper abdomen below the ribs. It may be associated with bloating, burping, and loss of appetite. Often the symptoms occur after eating, and many times patients waken in the early morning hours with abdominal pain. The American College of Gastroenterology has developed guidelines for the treatment of H. pylori infection.

What is a Urea Breath Test for H. pylori?

Urea breath testing for H. pylori is a clinically accepted, non-invasive, non-endoscopic test that identifies the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, a common cause of digestive illness. We use a state-of-the-art liquid scintillation counter and research based protocols to assist providers in diagnosing H. pylori. During the urea breath test, you swallow a substance containing urea with tagged carbon molecules. If you have an H. pylori infection, carbon is released when the solution is broken down in your stomach.

The urea breath test to identify the presence or absence of active H. pylori bacteria is very simple. Following a period of fasting, the patient ingests urea that contains tagged urea carbon molecules. If gastric urease from H. pylori is present, urea is split to form carbon dioxide and ammonia. The patient provides a breath sample by exhaling into a balloon-like bag. The bag is then mailed to our laboratory in the postage-paid box. Our H. pylori breath test can be administered in-office or in the comfort of the patient’s own home.